How an Isha Vidhya Student Navigated Hardships and Won Respect at a Young Age
Raviprasad, an Isha Vidhya alumnus, is among the few thousand personnel (out of lakhs of applicants) who joined the Indian Navy in 2022. This article unravels his unique success story.
The 19-year-old Isha Vidhya, Dharmapuri alumnus, Raviprasad, is an Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) sailor for the Indian Navy. He is currently undergoing Professional Training in Kochi, Kerala, where he is learning how to attack an enemy’s submarine with a torpedo and explosives like RDX and TNT. On India’s 75th Independence Day, he accompanied the Chief Guest to Isha Vidhya (Dharmapuri), Mr. Jegannathan (ex-Army, Havildar in Secunderabad battalion), to raise the national flag in his glorious uniform. "There was so much excitement and happiness. I don’t have words to describe," recalls Raviprasad about his flag-hoisting experience. Thanks to his determination, diligence and teachers’ support, Raviprasad made it to the Indian Armed Forces against all odds.
Raviprasad was born in the Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu into a poor family. His mother is a homemaker, and his father works for the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC). Due to his father’s drinking habits, his parents separated when he was only eight years old. So he, along with his younger brother, moved to his uncle’s place. Raviprasad’s uncle, a retired Indian Army officer, has been his pillar of strength throughout his life and supported him in completing his primary education in a government school. When his father gave up drinking after about two years, the family reunited, and Raviprasad was transferred to Isha Vidhya, Dharmapuri, in the fifth grade, which marked the turning point in his life. "Isha Vidhya gave me a lot of freedom, and I haven’t seen any school like that in rural areas. The study method here is unique, as are the teachers. The relationship between teachers and students is like a friendship," says Raviprasad. When he was in the eighth grade, his father—who was barely making enough to fulfill his family’s basic needs—reluctantly decided to transfer him to a government school, but to his surprise, Isha Vidhya granted his son a scholarship. Raviprasad studied on scholarship from the eighth grade until the twelfth grade. The school encouraged and offered Raviprasad numerous opportunities to take part in an array of extracurricular activities. "I have won several medals and certificates in chess. In school, I also discovered that I’m a good Tamil orator, and I won over a dozen medals for Tamil speeches. The school also encouraged me to play more games like kho-kho, volleyball, and football." Learning sports is never in vain. In 2022, during his Basic Training at INS Chilka in Orissa, Raviprasad earned points for his team in volleyball, football, and other games, which will help him advance in his navy career in the future.
"Isha Vidhya gave me a lot of freedom, and I haven’t seen any school like that in rural areas. The study method here is unique, as are the teachers. The relationship between teachers and students is like a friendship," says Raviprasad.
After about a year of joining Isha Vidhya, Raviprasad learned about aeronautical engineering, which fascinated him. When he told his father about his plans to pursue it after growing up, the reality hit him—his father couldn’t afford it but suggested that he try his luck at something related to flying, such as the Indian Air Force. Since then, joining the Air Force has been Raviprasad’s life mission. Luckily for him, he also received support from his teachers. "My math teacher, Pugazhenthi sir, supported me a lot. He constantly told me that my aim was much different from others'; I must focus on joining the Indian Armed Forces and work diligently towards my goal," shares Raviprasad. However, due to COVID, the Indian Air Force did not open applications last year. Knowing that his parents were struggling to make ends meet, Raviprasad could not wait another year and decided to join the Indian Navy instead. "I am equally happy to be a part of the Indian Navy, as it is a three-dimensional force and we have Air Force officers working on ships like INS Vikrant and INS Vikramaditya," says Raviprasad.
Raviprasad’s journey to the Indian Navy was grueling, to say the least. When he was called for the exam at INS Adyar in Chennai, he only expected a written test, as no details about the exam were shared beforehand. "I had only had a cup of tea in the morning before the written test, but unfortunately, immediately after the written test, they announced that they would conduct the physical test now." To pass the test, applicants were to run 1.6 km within 7 minutes and do 10 pushups and 20 squats. Raviprasad passed the test with flying colors, running 1.6 km in 5 minutes and 50 seconds. After the physical test, it was time for the final and most challenging part: Basic Training, which took place at INS Chilka in Orissa. "Basic Training was very difficult. Our phones were taken away, and we were allowed to contact our family only three times a week. We weren’t given enough water to bathe or even to drink, as they wanted us to be ready for all situations," shares Raviprasad, who completed the Basic Training successfully to become a part of the Indian Navy. Raviprasad’s phenomenal achievement is a proud moment for Isha Vidhya’s teachers and students, and, of course, his parents. "My juniors look up to me. When I returned to my school on 15th August, I encouraged many students to join the Indian Armed Forces."
Raviprasad’s mentors rejoice in his success:
"Raviprasad is a good leader and a goal-oriented person. He scored good marks in the 10th and 12th grades and guided his friends in a proper way. He always approached me as a friend. Overall, he is a multi-talented person."—Manickam Ammasi, Principal, Isha Vidhya (Dharmapuri) "Raviprasad was a good student. He eagerly participated in all the activities in the class. In mathematics, he was average. As a math teacher, I often encouraged him to focus on the subject. Gradually, he did. After passing 12th grade, he joined the Navy coaching center and requested me to clarify his math doubts. I clarified his doubts and taught him competitive exam-oriented math problems, which helped him achieve his goal."—Pugazhenthi, Math Teacher, Isha Vidhya (Dharmapuri) My parents are also very happy with me; my father tells me daily, ‘because of you, we are getting more respect in society,’" says Raviprasad cheerfully. The zestful 19-year-old is full of aspirations! His next goal is to become an officer in the Indian Navy, for which he has already begun preparations.
Editor's Note: Established in 2006, Isha Vidhya is an education initiative by Sadhguru that is committed to providing quality education for children in rural India, opening doors for them to participate in and benefit from the nation’s economic growth.
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